The Nubian Word for Flowers
From the Premiere
Concept, Story, and Texts by Ione
Music and Sound by Pauline Oliveros
A few Quotes from the Premiere of NWF
"It was, by all accounts, a labor of love from artists who had known and worked with Ms. Oliveros, joined in finishing what she started and honoring her memory." - ZACHARY WOOLFE, NY Times
"Last night was magnificent!!!!! Congratulations!!! My row of feminist musicologiNYsts was in tears. A stunning performance and so immersive and sensory and complex and smart and gorgeous. So much to listen to in my memory of it now on train back to Troy. Thank you and again big congratulations." - Love, Sherrie
"THAT WAS FANTASTIC (and everyone I spoke to thought so). Were you happy with it? . So much love in the room, the air itself was imbued not just with the heady scent of Nubian flowers, but with a collective sense of welcome and good will that in our present day seems to slip further into an imaginary past which may only ever have been that...." - Eric
"A well-deserved standing ovation for Pauline Oliveros and Carole Ione at the world premiere of their work, The Nubian Word for Flowers: A Phantom Opera in Brooklyn last night. This was a truly masterful work, and so moving. To have the ancestors rise and reassure that “we will survive this,” and to revive a colonizer to have him answer for his crimes to the librettist was just brilliant. Wow. Beautiful script by IONE, divine music by Pauline, and sound design by the amazing Senem Pirler (among many other collaborations). Filled with amor. "
Anne Hemenway: Do you feel this is a form of closure or an opening?
IONE: Both. This will be bringing it to a level of closure, but there are going to be other versions in the future. We plan to do it again in 2018. There’s technology that Pauline and I were exploring which is still being developed. - Thank you, Carole Ione
An Interview with IONE
Pauline Oliveros’ last work, “The Nubian Word for Flowers: A Phantom Opera,” is coming to life thanks to the work of her partner and close collaborator of more than 30 years, Ione—an acclaimed author, playwright/director, sound/text artist, and dream specialist in her own right. The joint production between Experiments in Opera, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and Ione’s own Ministry of Maåt will premiere on November 30 at Roulette in New York City. I sat down with Ione during a weekend symposium at Brooklyn College recently. We talked about the impetus for the opera, colonialism, and the challenges of presenting a posthumous work.
The LA Times, June 3, 2013
Oliveros, a pioneer in electronic music and a practitioner in what she has termed "deep listening," goes deep in "The Nubian Word." The concept, story and texts are by Ione, who examines the colonial mind through a mystical vision of British Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, who mapped the Middle East at the end of the 19th century. We encounter him on a Nubian island.
Oliveros' musical language, formed over a long lifetime of deep listening, is not the same as anyone else's. Here it is distilled in the vastness and fearless intensity of tone.
Marc Swed Review LA Times, June 3, 2013 :
"...this important release on Sub Rosa, including two long-lasting pieces. The first one, "Four Meditations for Orchestra", was composed between 1991 and 1997 and features vocalist Ione, who wonderfully interprets those reflections by using different languages and a dramatic vocal transposition ranging between mournful moments, litany, raving ecstasy and onomatopoeia, while Belgian orchestra Musiques Nouvelles sets the sound by a seemingly disassembled technique, where the cohesion between elements is reached after each instrument seems to say something while the other ones prepare the ground, before amalgamating with Ione's voice. " - Vito Camarretta, ChainDLK
The main focus of attention for listeners of “Four Meditations” will likely be the voice of Ione, Oliveros’ long-time collaborator. Though her fellow musicians all make vital contributions, Ione’s vocals are like a bright star around which all other sounds orbit. She’s adept at glossolalia-like stretches of abstract sound, improvising in the same league as expert voice experimenters such as Yoko Ono and C. Spencer Yeh. But her use of literal language is just as important.
At one point Ione slowly intones “I am who I am,” then flips that into “I am who you are,” seeming to comment on music that inverts definitions and blurs boundaries.
Marc Masters, Pitchfork.com
Ione is a noted author, playwright/director and poet whose works include the critically acclaimed memoir, Pride of Family Four Generations of American Women of Color, Listening in Dreams and This is a Dream! Other works include; The Night Train to Aswan and Nile Night: Remembered Texts from the Deep and Spell Breaking; Remembered Ways of Being, and Anthology of Women’s Mysteries.
She is the playwright and director of Njinga the Queen King (BAM’s Next Wave Festival )and the dance Opera Io and Her and the Trouble with Him ( Union Theatre, Madison,WI) The Lunar Opera; Deep Listening For_Tunes. (Lincoln Center Out of Doors), She has created two experimental films, Venezia e L’egitto and Dreams of the Jungfrau. Ione and Pauline Oliveros are currently collaborating on The Nubian Word for Flowers, A Phantom Opera. Encompassing the Nubian Diaspora and the life of Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener of Khartoum, the opera is "a deep dream exploration of Nubian soul and the Colonial Mind". Ione is also an improvising sound/text artist who performs in the United States and Internationally.
Ione is the Founding Director of the Ministry of Maåt, Inc ( MoM, Inc) and Former Artistic Director of Deep Listening Institute, Ltd. Both organizations seek to foster a harmonious world community. She is a Deep Listening Certification Instructor, Center for Deep Listening, Rensselaer, Troy, NY.
An Unfinished ‘Phantom Opera’ Is Completed With Love
Pauline Oliveros died last year, leaving “The Nubian Word for Flowers.” The surreal meditation on colonialism that she created with her partner, Ione, debuts on Thursday.
By Thomas May, Nov. 24, 2017, NY Times
"We're All Outsiders" - from Experiments in Opera
INTERVIEW WITH IONE One month out from the November 30 premiere of Nubian Word for Flowers at Roulette with International Contemporary Ensemble, our Artistic Director Jason Cady sat down with writer/director Ione to discuss the opera and her work with composer Pauline Oliveros. Read the full text to learn more.
Get Your Tickets to Nubian Word for Flowers NOW
Check out our Trailer for Nubian Word for Flowers for a sneak peak at the performers from their September workshop performance at Mt. Tremper Arts.